GiveDirectly Highlights Unscripted, Unedited Beneficiary Stories

When it comes to communicating impact, there are a number of ways to do it. Creating an impact calculator, sharing data in real time or using social math are just a few tactics. Yet, when it comes to helping donors understand impact, a personal story can go a long way – and the more authentic the better. Now, one nonprofit organization is showing impact on the ground with real, unedited beneficiary stories.

When GiveDirectly launched nearly nine years ago, the concept was revolutionary – using cell phones to transfer money directly to those who need it most – with very little overhead. Now, the nonprofit is again revolutionizing giving, by sharing the stories of those who benefited from donations in a very real way. GiveDirectly has launched GDLive, a newsfeed-type approach to sharing impact stories. Donors can click on profiles to see photos of recipients, age, occupation, country of residence as well as where they are in the stages of cash transfers. But most telling are the interviews from each beneficiary. This is where individuals share their aspirations or ambitions, how they spent their donation money and what the moment felt like when they received the money. Each story is transcribed exactly as the beneficiary described it and uploaded directly to the site – with no production or editing, giving a clear window into each beneficiary's real experiences. One recipient, 23 year-old Beatrice, described her experience receiving her first donation, "I felt so happy when I received my money. I even shivered and just saw tears rolling down my cheeks. Little did I expect to receive such a big sum of money in my life." She went on to say how she used her initial payment of $112, "I spent my first transfer on buying four pigs to start a piggery enterprise. I also bought solar since I was finding challenges to provide paraffin on a daily basis at home."

When it comes to giving online, showing how one person's donation can make an impact is a powerful tool. In fact, the 2014 Cone Communications Digital Activism Study found nearly eight-in-10 (79%) Americans are motivated to give online if it is clear how their support would make a real impact on the issue – and GDLive does just that. Through sharing the real, personal stories of beneficiaries it becomes strikingly clear just what a difference one donation can make.